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Newz Forum: BASKETBALL: COLLEGE: Wake Forest No. 1 in AP poll for first time in history

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posted on Nov, 22 2004 @ 06:45 PM
Wake Forest reached No. 1 for the first time, switching places with Kansas atop the Associated Press men's basketball poll Monday -- even though the Jayhawks didn't lose.

The Demon Deacons (2-0) didn't have to wait long to play their first game leading the rankings, hosting Yale on Monday night.

Kansas won its only game of the season but trailed most of the way before beating visiting Vermont 68-61. Wake Forest opened with Preseason NIT home wins over George Washington (97-76) and Virginia Commonwealth (81-67).

"Because of the strength of the ACC in particular and the country in general, I think this is a season when many schools will have the opportunity to be in this position," Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser said.

His team probably benefited from an opening loss by then-No. 4 North Carolina to Santa Clara. The Tar Heels held eight first-place votes last week but dropped all the way to 11th in the current poll.

The Demon Deacons were No. 1 on 25 ballots and received 1,658 points from the national media panel. Kansas had 26 first-place votes and 1,637 points. Only 70 of the 72 voters participated this week.

Last week, Kansas led 26-23 in first-place votes and had 18 more points than Wake Forest.

"I'm sure the people who vote saw a close game versus Vermont and certainly didn't expect that. But that's fine," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "I'm not disappointed because, to be honest, I didn't think we'd really done anything to earn it. I'd much rather drop in the poll after a win than after a loss."

The Demon Deacons were ranked second for 10 weeks in 1996-97, Tim Duncan's senior season. Add in two weeks at No. 2 this season, and Wake's 12 weeks overall at that spot were the third-most for a school never at No. 1.

Maryland's 23 weeks at No. 2 are the most for a team never at the top, followed by Louisville's 16.

Wake Forest is the sixth Atlantic Coast Conference school to be ranked No. 1, joining Duke, North Carolina, North Carolina State, Virginia and Georgia Tech.

Prosser knows that opponents always take extra pride in knocking off top-ranked teams. His 1996 Xavier squad upset then-No. 1 Cincinnati.

"I am proud of our players and happy for our fans and students, to be part of something that has never occurred in the long and storied history of Wake Forest basketball," Prosser said. "Having said that, I am well aware of how fickle a No. 1 ranking can be."

Georgia Tech (2-0), which received 11 first-place votes, remained third, while Syracuse (4-0) moved up a spot to fourth and was No. 1 on four ballots. The Orange beat Mississippi State and Memphis in winning the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Illinois, Oklahoma State, Connecticut and Kentucky each moved up one spot to be fifth through eighth, while Duke moved from 11th to ninth, and Michigan State went from 13th to No. 10.

Oklahoma State (1-0) received two first-place votes while Illinois (2-0) and Kentucky (1-0) each received one.

North Carolina was followed by No. 12 Louisville, Maryland, Mississippi State, Texas, Pittsburgh, North Carolina State, Arizona, Alabama and Wisconsin.

The last five ranked teams were Notre Dame, Washington, Florida, Gonzaga and Memphis.

North Carolina's drop wasn't the biggest of the week: Arizona fell eight spots to 18th after losing at Virginia on Sunday.




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